2016 - Ludlow & Marches 9th October


Not having driven Dippy since the Hills and Valleys Tour in May and as his Newbie Driver, Hilary and I thought I had better practice for the Ludlow Tour by taking Dippy to marshal on The Devon Classic Rally. So the 1st and 2nd of October found Dippy and I enjoying a spin round the Devon countryside with Hilary keeping a watchful eye.  It was lovely to have several participants saying that they recognised Dippy and calling him by name. Eliot Dale, who was running no.1 in his 1928 Ford Model A PickUp, had recently worked on Dippy tidying up the edges where age was showing. A nip and tuck here and there and the facelift was complete. I don’t think he can do the same for us. He came up to us and was obviously pleased to see Dippy out with the owner.

Dippy at Ludlow and Marches Scenic Tour
9th October 2016

A lovely day dawned for Dippy's trip on the 8th October, for the Ludlow and  Marches Scenic Tour. Jenny and I stayed with Malcolm and Elaine Oxborrow and were joined by two other couples who were participating in the event, Fred and Francis Wakeling, Celia and Bill Limbrik for an evening meal at a local pub the night before the Tour. It was a happy evening chatting over past events and looking to the future. Jenny and I have now been convinced that we can do the Gapers Tour in Belgium as an all girl? team!

Up bright and early, Dippy adjusted for Jenny (she even shorter than me!)On arrival at the start after registration and collecting our Road Book, barbecued bacon bap or Danish pastry and coffee was enjoyed, there was lots of chatting for the driver while I looked over the tulips that designated the route. We set out as car 10 watching the previous cars directions just to make sure a mistake wasn't made right at the start. Has been known to happen!!

On the morning of the Ludlow Tour I ( J ) was feeling a bit more relaxed this second time out as ‘driver’ and I was looking forward to enjoying being navigated  around areas local to me but seeing views and places I hadn’t visited before.  Malcolm had promised views and challenging lanes so, with the sun shining, Dippy and I, with Hilary attempting to make sure we were both shipshape, arrived in a state of excited anticipation at the Ludlow Brewery.  However, Newbie driver failed dismally at the first hurdle of parking neatly in line by not having practiced reversing with Dippy’s limited turning circle.

I was once again impressed and delighted with how friendly and accepting the motorsport fraternity is. While Hilary was off in Dippy quietly looking through the road book I found myself chatting happily, talking motor sport over a bacon sandwich, with people I didn’t know.  What a pleasure to be amongst such lovely folk. 

Malcolm explained to all assembled that he would be sharing the responsibilities of the event with a bigger team next year and was handing over the techie side. Malcolm’s efforts over the last three years in developing the Ludlow and Marches Scenic Tour was acknowledge with loud and enthusiastic applause. A little bird whispered the route for next year is already in hand so get your entry in early!

Malcolm ended his briefing by saying firmly that this was an un-timed event so there was no hurry; we were to enjoy the views. I took this on board and spoke to myself about controlling my ‘heavy right foot’ - as Hilary describes it. Dippy goes about his business so smoothly that this is harder than it sounds but I was determined to really try to keep him and me in check.

The day was wonderful, the views spectacular and the lanes, as promise, were very challenging! 
We wove our way round the borders of Shropshire and Wales, up hills, first down a very steep incline called Farlow Bank, which in its early life was unsurfaced and a motorsport ‘Test Hill’.  We continued down between the Clee Hills to Downton Hall, which is a very beautiful 1738 Historic House that is still family owned. Coffee was at Downton Hall. Oh boy, what a house - absolutely beautiful, quintessentially British and the cakes were to die for.

The second section continued to be challenging as we crossed Wenlock Edge, traversed the length of Long Mynd, descending very sharply and then up again past the Stipperstones to the Devil’s Chair for our Lunch break at the Bog Centre.  We had enjoyed the route immensely and Dippy had coped with the steep inclines wonderfully. As the driver I was on a high when arriving in the car-park but ‘Parking’ again came under, “Could do better!” 

Section three found us over the border into Wales, again enjoying spectacular views and Hilary and I had fun trying to pronounce the place names.  The lanes were indeed challenging!  We climbed up the Kerrys and dropped again into the Teme Valley and up and across Bailey Hill to our afternoon stop. My dyslexia reared its head at one junctions where I set Dippy up very neatly to make a right turn, nearly causing us to go off route but Hilary kept saying, very firmly, ‘my way!’ and I was able to rectify my mistake before going wrong, Pffew! (Oops Jenny did it again later but I understand that it is a common mistake.)

I was getting tired now but was so enjoying myself and Dippy was purring. The route in the last section continued the up and down theme, climbing Stonewall Hill with a long drop to Lingen Village and up again before bringing us back to Ludlow and a hot meal at the Ludlow Food Centre. The route was challenging right up to the end a credit to the organisers.

Thank you Malcolm and to all who enabled the all girl crew and Dippy to have a great day out. It was truly enjoyable, challenging and the views were spectacular, many of which I had never seen before, despite living in the area.

Thank you for entrusting me with Dippy, Hilary.  I’ll practice reversing into a parking space before our next outing!

Hilary Jenny and Dippy, car 10